The hottest new restaurants of the season

Whether it's classic Italian fare or Japanese savory pancakes, this list has a little something for everyone.

Barry Brecheisen

Seafood stew at Avli

79彩票注册网址

It might be freezing outside, but Chicago’s restaurant scene has been anything but. Dozens of restaurants have cropped up around the city the past few months, including the city’s first Japanese okonomiyaki spot and a massive, three-story food hall with big-name chefs attached. Here’s what to keep on your radar.

Ciccio Mio
Brendan Sodikoff of Au Cheval fame is expanding his restaurant empire with a throwback to old-school Italian restaurants. Sodikoff’s Hogsalt Hospitality opened the spot this month in River North, located next to his oldest restaurant, Gilt Bar, and in the former space of Radio Anago, the Japanese eatery he closed in May. Ciccio Mio seats 50 and is currently open only for dinner on Wednesdays through Sundays. The spot is everything you’d expect at an old-fashioned Italian spot, offering rolled and sliced lasagna Bolognese plus other classic fare in an intimate space featuring dim lighting, plush booths and chandeliers.
Where: 226 W. Kinzie St.

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Jack LI

Time Out Market Chicago

79彩票注册网址

Time Out Market Chicago
Food and entertainment guide Time Out has put its name behind a massive, three-story food hall spanning 50,000 square feet that opened Nov. 21. The magazine’s editorial team chose 18 vendors for the Fulton Market spot, featuring Chicago favorites like the Purple Pig and Duck Inn plus new concepts from award-winning chefs. The spot also features multiple bars and plans to host weekly cultural activities. “We really want to encourage people to get out of their houses and come to a place where they can experience the best the city has to offer not just in terms of food but also in culture,” company CEO Julio Bruno said in a recent interview. “After all, it’s called Time Out, not Time In.”
Where79彩票注册网址: 916 W. Fulton Market

Boqueria
Spanish tapas bar Boqueria opened in Fulton Market on Dec. 5, serving paella, sparkling Spanish wines and shared, small plates popular in Barcelona. The 140-seat restaurant—which offers daily lunch and dinner service plus bottomless brunch on weekends—is the seventh Boqueria restaurant and the first in the Midwest for chef Marc Vidal, a Barcelona native, and founder Yann de Rochefort who operate locations in New York and Washington, D.C. Diners can choose a prix fixe chef’s sampling of tapas or pick their favorite Spanish classics, including paella, bacon-wrapped dates and pan con tomate.
Where:79彩票注册网址 807 W. Fulton Market

Gaijin
Chef Paul Virant returned to the city with this Japanese street-food restaurant that opened Nov. 11. The 2,300-square-foot, 60-seat restaurant is Chicago’s first dedicated to okonomiyaki, a savory Japanese pancake made of flour, egg and dashi and topped with ingredients like seafood and pork belly. The bar will highlight sake, Japanese whiskey and highballs, and a beer collaboration with Moody Tongue.
Where: 79彩票注册网址950 W. Lake St.

Avli River North
Downtown Chicago has its first Greek restaurant in years with Avli River North, which opened Nov. 8. The two-story upscale spot inside the former Sumi Robata Bar offers contemporary Grecian fare, including an option for a “Greek Feast,” a massive roasted leg of lamb that feeds six to eight people and requires a 72-hour advance reservation. This is Chef Louie Alexakis’ third Avli restaurant, with others located in Winnetka and Lincoln Park. The spot is open for dinner daily at 5 p.m., with eventual plans to offer lunch and takeout.
Where: 702 N. Wells St.

Porto
Daniel Alonso (Black Bull, Cafe Bonhomme) brings the Spanish coast to Chicago with Porto, a seafood restaurant and wine bar recently opened in West Town. Set next door to the original Beatnik, Porto features a 32-seat "chef's island" where three chefs prepare cold and hot dishes in front of guests and also serve as bartenders to pour dealer's choice cocktails and wines from the Iberian Peninsula. The menu is inspired by Alonso’s own childhood trips to the Atlantic Coast of Galicia and Portugal; along with the flavorful tinned fish conservas, it features fresh seafood imported from Spain and cooked with wood.
Where: 1600 W. Chicago Ave.

Cooper’s Hawk Esquire Chicago
The fast-growing winery chain opened a lavish, three-story flagship restaurant in the 79彩票注册网址 Coast—the brand’s first location in an urban market. Inside the former Esquire Theatre, the 24,000-square-foot-space boasts a full restaurant, tasting rooms and a nearly floor-to-ceiling wine tower. The “signature menu,” exclusive to this location, includes miso-glazed Chilean sea bass, prime bone-in rib-eye and pistachio-crusted Australian rack of lamb. Cooper’s Hawk operates 40 other locations throughout the nation and manages the largest direct-to-consumer wine club in the world.
Where: 58 E. Oak St.

Stolp Island Social
Amy Morton, daughter of the famed Chicago restaurateur who founded the chain of steakhouses bearing his name, is continuing her own restaurant legacy (Barn Steakhouse and Found Kitchen, both in Evanston) with Stolp Island Social, which opened Nov. 29 in downtown Aurora next to the Paramount Theatre. The 4,500-square-foot, 142-seat seasonal restaurant and steakhouse is located in the former Block & Kuhl department store—famous during  Prohibition—and will feature a live jazz brunch every Sunday. Morton also opened Patty Squared on the Northwestern University campus last year, offering healthier alternatives to burgers.
Where: 79彩票注册网址5 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora

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Rey Lopez

Paella at Boqueria

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